Cities Look To Coworking To Accelerate Return To Work, Downtown Recovery

By | Business

Shameless plug:  For access to your local co-working location which includes co-working, private offices, dedicated desks, and conference rooms … as well as long term parking, self-storage and warehouse units all in our business park (Imperial Business Park), visit and
Contact Colin Croteau (community manager) for a tour.  Colin can be reached at 281-862-3150

—- April 20, 2021 Jon Banister, Bisnow Washington, D.C

For more than a year, city governments encouraged people to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

But that message has shifted, and cities are now pushing to bring people back to offices to help revive their downtown areas, and they see coworking spaces as a way to accelerate that effort.

Over the last three months, Miami, New York and D.C. have announced partnerships with WeWork to offer discounts to companies bringing people back to the office. The coworking company finances the discounts without city subsidies, but the cities are using their promotion and marketing power to push people toward the WeWork spaces.

WeWork Head of Public Affairs and Communications Christina Ferzli told Bisnow she joined the company in January and immediately began pushing to grow WeWork’s relationships with local governments by meeting with officials and hearing their priorities, and that quickly turned into this new partnership model.

“‘How do we bring people back downtown to shop, buy lunch and coffee, and revitalize the economic prosperity in these cities?’ That was a key theme for most of the cities we spoke to,” said Ferzli, who had previously led corporate affairs and communications at juice giant Ocean Spray, according to her LinkedIn page. “We realized we could help with that post-pandemic recovery.”

WeWork is planning to expand the partnership model around the country and the globe, Ferzli said. She said it is preparing to announce three new partnerships in the coming months, but she didn’t disclose which cities.

She said the partnerships are aimed at helping businesses get back to the office quickly and affordably and helping cities revive activity in their downtown areas, and the new business also helps WeWork recover from the coronavirus pandemic. WeWork last month announced plans to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company merger valuing the company at $9B.

While coworking companies were the first to feel the pain when people stopped coming into the office, given the short-term nature of their leases, Ferzli said they can also be the first ones to benefit from the return to work.

“There’s never been a stronger moment for flexible office space, and WeWork is so uniquely situated in helping businesses adjust to this new normal and providing turnkey solutions to scale,” Ferzli said. “In helping cities with their economic recovery, we are looking to grow our member base with businesses that need help coming back.”

The New York partnership was announced on March 16, and it is structured as a partnership between WeWork and the chambers of commerce of the five boroughs, with a focus on small businesses. The D.C. partnership, announced March 24, is between WeWork and Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s administration. The Miami partnership, announced on Jan. 21, is with Mayor Francis Suarez‘s administration, and it is focused on technology companies.

Ferzli said she has seen a significant shift take place over the last month in which cities are now focused on promoting a return to the office, rather than telling people to stay home.

“Most cities are targeting the spring and summer for this as we continue to see positive trends in the pandemic itself,” Ferzli said. “Now through the fall is where we’re going to see that bigger push for a return to work.”

Google Maps

A WeWork office at 125 South 25th St. in the Flatiron District in New York.

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Walker said the ongoing rollout of the vaccines has given people confidence to start returning to the office, and the city is now encouraging that return. She said small businesses are likely to be the first to return to the office, as many large companies have already pushed their returns back to the fall or to next year.

“We’re all focused on trying [to] accelerate the city’s economic recovery, and for a lot of reasons, that means we need a large percentage of [the] workforce to begin coming back to the office,” Walker said. “We think it’s critical in the short-term to focus on small businesses and what we can do to get them fully engaged again.”

She said the WeWork partnership is particularly helpful in accelerating the return to work for small businesses, because companies can start with a small space and expand as they build momentum, and they aren’t saddled with upfront costs.

The New York partnership offers two months of free office space for companies that make a six-month commitment, three months for those that make a 12-month commitment. It also offers a one-month free trial and 12 months of 15% for WeWork All Access, a pass that allows members to use any WeWork location in the city.

“WeWork and these types of models are made for businesses that are going to come back with maybe two employees, and then they can move into a larger office in a month or two when they’re ready,” she said. “The specific deals WeWork is offering are steep discounts, so businesses are able to relaunch and not have to pay rent for the first three months of an annual lease, which is a big deal for businesses trying to get back. It gives them breathing room.”

Ferzli said 76% of the members WeWork is seeing return to the office are small and medium businesses, rather than its larger enterprise members.

“It’s small and medium-sized businesses that are coming back, they’re the ones taking advantage of the program at the moment,” Ferzli said. “We were expecting small and medium to be the first to come back because they’re a little more agile.”

In D.C., WeWork is offering the same discounts as in New York, but instead of the chambers of commerce, it is partnering with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio told Bisnow the District is planning to kick off a new effort next month to encourage companies to return to the office.

“Now we have had a year of experience of how to keep people safe when they return to the office, we also know vaccination rates continue to rise around the region, so that builds our confidence that now is the time,” Falcicchio said.

He said he sees the partnership with WeWork as a way to support this return-to-work effort. He said WeWork was an ideal partner because of its footprint throughout the central business district, allowing people to pick the location that is best for their commutes.

“I think coworking will become more a part of the landscape than it was before the pandemic,” Falcicchio said. “Because we know people are looking at how they carry that overhead of a lease, and what coworking allows you to do is a more flexible way to get out of the house and focus on work.”

Falcicchio said D.C. is also in discussions with WorkChew, a D.C.-based startup that turns restaurant and hotel spaces into flexible workspaces during the hours when they are underutilized. He invited WorkChew to speak alongside WeWork on a DMPED event earlier this month to promote its offering, he said he is helping connect it with restaurant and hotel groups, and he said DMPED employees have begun to use WorkChew spaces.

“For businesses, it’s another way to capture revenue,” he said of WorkChew. “We want to highlight the concept and let the marketplace know it exists as people think about how they might return to work.”

Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District Director of Economic Development Gerry Widdicombe said he supports the WeWork partnership, but he doesn’t think it will make a huge dent in the return-to-work effort. He noted that coworking space only accounts for 1% to 2% of D.C.’s office market, so it will be more important to push major employers with large office footprints to bring back their workforces.

“As people tiptoe back into the office, WeWork and their promotions will be very important, but it’s important to put the whole coworking sector in the proper perspective,” Widdicombe said. “Is it a game-changer? I don’t think so, but it’s certainly a good step in the right direction.”

While WeWork has the largest coworking footprint in many major cities, its competitors also see their spaces as helping cities in their return-to-work efforts.

Industrious Chief Commercial Officer Anna Squires Levine, in emailed responses to Bisnow questions, said the company “definitely” sees partnering with cities as a potential opportunity to explore. She said most companies are still looking to open downtown offices to serve as a hub for employees and then supplementing that with neighborhood-based offices.

“It’s then a rising tide lifts all boats scenario where neighboring businesses feel the benefits of the resurgence in foot traffic from the workers now coming into the office,” she said in the email. “Those moments driven by office workers — Thursday happy hours at the beloved bar near the office, running out to grab lunch at the deli on the corner — will bring a boost to those businesses who have been really missing this audience throughout the pandemic.”

IWG CEO of the Americas Wayne Berger, whose company operates the Regus and Spaces brands, said he is seeing an increase in D.C. companies looking to return to the office, with month-over-month inquiries up 32% in March.

“There will always be a role for major city offices and the networking and cultural benefits they offer, and by offering employees flexible workspaces within these hubs, they become tools to facilitating the eventual return of these bustling business districts in an even more sustainable and livable way,” Berger wrote in an emailed statement.

Bringing people back to work is important to revive the downtown restaurant and retail sector, Widdicombe said, as many of these businesses rely on office traffic. He also said it would help the District’s budget, because downtown retail businesses wouldn’t have to continue relying on government support.

“We think it’s important from the city’s point of view, the sooner they bring people back they don’t have to do another bridge fund, so they can save $100M,” Widdicombe said. “We’d rather have people come back and create real demand for restaurants.”

Midtown Manhattan

In Midtown Manhattan, Walker said foot traffic is still down by more than 50%, and bringing workers back to offices will be critical to support retail and restaurants.

“Any time we can bring office workers back to those areas, that’s a huge multiplier effect that’s going to keep people employed as doormen, keep people employed at restaurants and shops,” Walker said. “It’s fundamentally important to the city’s ecosystem.”

In addition to bringing employees from their apartments to their offices during the day, Walker said New York also needs to bring back the remote workers who left the city during the pandemic, and she thinks coworking space can play a role in that effort.

“A lot of remote workers have left the state, and so we have to think about all these things because it has an effect on local stores, shops taxes, and the feel of the city if we lose a ton of creative talent that makes New York City what it is,” Walker said. “We still have work to do to bring the workforce back.”

While New York seeks to bring its workforce back and revive its office districts, other states with less of an established office market are looking to draw remote workers to find a new home, and they are also using coworking as a tool in that effort.

West Virginia last week launched a program to attract remote workers with an incentive package that includes $12K in cash payments, free outdoor recreation and free coworking space. The program, funded by West Virginia native Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys, is a partnership between the state’s tourism agency and West Virginia University.

Danny Twiley, the assistant dean for WVU’s Brad & Alys Smith Economic Development Collaborative, said the goal of the program is to keep people in West Virginia for the long term, and he sees the coworking offering as a critical part of that effort.

“We really want to retain these individuals, because we’re asking them to move to a new state, a new community they haven’t lived in before, and we want them to connect with new members of the community,” Twiley said. “If you’re working from home, that’s really hard to do unless you have an established community.”

The program launched last week and has received 5,000 applications, Twiley said. It plans to welcome its first cohort of about 50 people this summer. He said the coworking offering will launch in a space on WVU’s Morgantown Campus, and the program is planning to build out three new coworking spaces that the university will operate in Morgantown, Shepherdstown and Lewisburg.

Twiley said it hasn’t decided on the exact size of those new spaces, as it wants to see how much usage the first space receives, but he said it aims to put the spaces in busy locations where the workers can help revitalize the surrounding retail and restaurants.

“As we build out space, we want it to be in energy centers of communities,” he said. “We put it in those energy hubs so people will then say, ‘I want to go out to eat. Let’s get to know each other, go out to lunch, grab a cup of coffee or meet me after work.’ We’re trying to support the local communities and the businesses that are already there.”

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Survey finds many workers would rather quit than return to office full time

By | Business, Industry
A recent survey by Menlo Park, California-based recruiting firm Robert Half found that more than 30% of people working from home as a result of the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office full time.  This is where a hybrid workspace comes into play, and alternating between home and a coworking or move-in ready environment is optimal for employees to keep a work/life balance.

What Workers Want
Nearly half of all employees surveyed (48.5%) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide time between the office and another location. Even if given the opportunity to be fully remote, professionals expressed the following concerns in doing so:

  1. Relationships with coworkers could suffer: 28%
  2. Decreased productivity while at home: 26%
  3. Fewer career advancement opportunities due to a lack of visibility: 20%

At the same time, workers may not be ready to return to the office, and employers may want to consider what could help ease their transition back on-site. Professionals said the top ways their company can support them include:

  1. Freedom to set preferred office hours
  2. A personal, distraction-free workspace
  3. Employer-paid commuting costs
  4. Relaxed dress code
  5. Employer-provided childcare

Source: Link  / and / Link


Member Feature – Ozeal Debastos

By | Business

Ozeal Debastos is the founder and owner of Ozeal Media. A nationwide podcasting and podcast consulting brand based here in Sugar Land, Texas. Ozeal has been a CoWorking Member here at Business E Suites since October of 2020 and has been influential in helping build the sense of community that makes Business E Suites feel like home to the 50+ small businesses based here.

Ozeal has always loved podcasts and podcasting, and as it continues to grow there are many people who want to get involved but don’t know how to get started. That is where Ozeal Media comes in; they help businesses and individuals get their own podcasts up and running by showing them the right equipment, optimizing their content, and finding the right channels to distribute the podcast and market their brand.

One of Ozeal’s main goals in his consulting is to help businesses humanize their leadership through podcasting. Podcasts allow brands and individuals to connect and communicate with customers and deliver their message to them in a direct and personal way.

The ideal customer for Ozeal Media is someone with a heart for service, who wants a new way to build and market their brand and utilize voice marketing to connect with their customers in a new and inspiring way. Ozeal believes voice marketing is more powerful than ever and provides a way for people to speak directly to their followers and cut through all the noise on social media.

So, what brought Ozeal to Business E Suites? Community. A friend told him about a great new CoWorking place in Sugar Land close to him. He needed a place to get away from distractions and focus, but also to be able to host consulting sessions and record his podcasts. BES offered everything he needed, and he loved the vibe and sense of community. Being around a community of small business owners like at BES has inspired Ozeal to up his game and improve his skills. That support and encouragement are invaluable to any entrepreneur because there will always be times when you get discouraged or don’t know how to handle a problem and the community is there to motivate you and help you in any way they can.

When asked what his biggest challenge has been so far as a small business owner, Ozeal said it must be what he calls Superman Syndrome, trying to do everything on your own and not asking for help. That can easily lead to burnout and overextending yourself. Focus on what you are good at and what you can control. Building a top brand won’t happen overnight, so you have to pace yourself and stay consistent. Once you can start expanding, find other people with strengths that cover your weaknesses. That is when you really start to see your business grow.

We asked Ozeal what advice he would give to other business owners starting out. He said simply, “Be patient.” Building a brand and starting your own company takes time. It won’t all come together right away and there will be many challenges, but you just have to keep working through it and trust in yourself and the vision you have. Find a community that supports and inspires you along the way during those tough times. The struggles make your victories taste so much sweeter.



Tips to Optimize Your Ranking in Google

By | Business, Tips

Tips to Optimize Your Ranking in Google by Ahava Marketing.

You may think you need to be an engineer or an expert in web development to optimize your Google Ranking, but, I have good news for you. There are simple adjustments that will help the search engines rank your site higher.

Find the right keywords
The first thing you need to know is what keywords you would like to use to rank in Google, which means in what searches you will like your site to appear. Make sure you think the same way the users do, don’t be too technical. Try to use common sense keywords, for example; if your business is a restaurant for Mexican food in Sugar Land, do not try to use phrases like authentic Mexican food in Sugar Land, but use instead best Mexican food in Sugar, that’s how the users will look for the product or service.

Use the right Titles
When developing a section for your site make sure you use the right title for each page, for example, instead of using the title About Us you can use About Business E Suites, giving branding to the page and context to the search engine.

Name your Keywords in the first paragraph
Your home page’s first phrase should be used with the H1 title and using the keywords you are using to rank, for example; Best Mexican Food in Sugar Land or Indoor Pool Installation in Houston. This tire is the most important part doe the search engines use H1 and H2 formats
Make sure you use the right format for each part, do not abuse the use of H1 titles, instead use H2 or H3 and paragraphs <p> for long content.

Use good Content 
A simple phrase is not enough for search engines to understand your website, be aware that Google understands full paragraphs, use long sentences and use the keywords in the content.“Come and join us at Escalante’s to enjoy the best Mexican food in Sugar Land, we offer a wide menu and great prices” This paragraph provides users great context, great information and includes relevant keywords and words like prices and menu, therefore, it’s related to the food industry.

Create a Site Map
Make sure you create a site map, an XML file that can be read by the search engine robots, once you have it, go into Google Search Console and submit it to them and your site will be ready to rank higher. SEO requires time and dedication and is not something that reflects results immediately. Make sure you check monthly your rank by searching those meet words and phrases to check the progress.


If you have any questions or need a free consultation – reach out at

The Changing Workplace

By | Business

Are traditional office owners in denial about the change in demand that will persist after the pandemic is behind us? Since COVID-19 forced the hand of companies in allowing workers to work flexibly, Mark Dixon of Bisnow in London, said now they are actively embracing the benefits. He pointed to a study from EY that found that moving a worker from full-time office occupation to hybrid work could save a company $11K.

“Previously, if a company said they wanted you to work remotely, that wouldn’t have been acceptable,” he said. “But now they realize they can hire better people and save money as well. It is not just benevolent, they are businesses, and they realize that people are more productive, and it costs less.”

He thinks up to two-thirds of companies will adopt a hybrid working model of some staff in a central HQ some of the time and working remotely for the remainder.

At Business E Suites, we saw this new remote workspace model as a new way of working 3 years ago. It’s actually not new, it started over in Europe over 10 years ago. Fortunately, we were already under construction when the pandemic hit, but we didn’t plan on opening DURING a pandemic. Nevertheless, the remote office concept is becoming more popular every day.

Not only do workers need space, but they also need meeting rooms as well. Now, instead of meeting at a Starbucks, facilities like ours rent meeting room space out by the hour for as low as $10. And the coffee is included!

If you are a realtor, and you refer business to us, we pay referral fees.



Featured Member: Faisal & Will (SNS)

By | Business, Industry

Faisal Shaikh and Will Peoples comprise SNS Ventures, a Sugar Land IT consulting company that services clients all over the country. They joined our community at Business E Suites in 2020 and have been growing ever since.  Faisal has been in IT and Cybersecurity for much of his career, and he met Will while they were both at GE. After advancing in the industry, Faisal saw an opportunity to start working as a consultant. This gave him more freedom to work with different kinds of clients, and he was not tied down to one company which gave him more security.

Before he started IT consulting though, Faisal got his first taste of small business ownership by opening a couple of restaurants called Saruzzos NY Pizzeria in the Houston area in 2016. Ultimately, Faisal’s goal is to be self-sufficient and get to retire early. Although the restaurants were doing well, there was an opportunity in consulting to potentially reach that retirement even earlier. That is how Faisal operates, he is always open to new opportunities and ideas, and he has the drive and ambition to make them happen.  Like any good business owner, Faisal knew he needed to assemble a winning team. He started by calling Will. After years of working offshore on oil rigs and a hectic schedule, Will was ready for a new challenge working together with Faisal. Will has his own experience as a small business owner, and his time in Oil & Gas provided him with lots of good connections in the industry. He was thrilled at the opportunity to work with Faisal again and work for himself “like a boss.”

SNS Ventures found Business E Suites in December 2020 when Faisal actually came to rent a van from one of our other tenants: Luxed Vans. Faisal toured the facility and loved the clean, professional look and the flexibility of month-to-month terms. As a project-based company, that flexibility is a major plus. It gives SNS the ability to scale their workspace up and down as needed when they take on extra clients or complete a long-term project.  The project-based nature of the business has also been one of the greatest challenges SNS has faced so far. Going from 2 contracts to 3 contracts is a massive increase to their workload, and likewise going from 2 contracts to 1 contract cuts their revenue in half. These big swings can be stressful, but it is just part of the challenge of being a small business.

If Will and Faisal could give one piece of advice to other small businesses out there it is this: Enjoy it!! You are your own boss now, so act like a boss and enjoy the freedom and opportunity provided to you from working for yourself.  Business E Suites is very happy to have SNS Ventures as one of our core members, and we look forward to watching them grow and accomplish all of their goals for 2021 and beyond.


Marketing Tips from Ahava Marketing

By | Business, Tips

Whether you’re a marketing pro or just starting out, we’re here to pass on some helpful tips to reach some exposure and even some goals.  Remember, a brand is not just about a pretty logo, a cool website, or a simple business card, it is about the service and experience you offer your consumers, and where it is, really matters.   As a marketing agency we can tell you there are endless opportunities to market your product/service and brand your business on the way but today, we’re going to offer you some free tips to take advantage of and get started.

Start with the simplest of all; create a Google My Business Page

Most of your traffic if not all will flow through Google and having a steady presence is vital to look serious and mean business

Post and engage on social media

Almost 80% of adults use social media today, where more than half happen to be women, and the biggest age group using a social media outlet today happen to be between 18-29, plus in a world where Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are the top three most used social media platforms.  This means, that a big group of people not quite this huge percentage, but a good amount could be potentially engaging with your brand and learning all about your product and services.  So, it’s vital to have your business engaged with a social media presence, post relevant content, and talk about what you do.  The chances of getting organic traffic and possible conversions are extremely high through social media channels.

Use hashtags and tag people

Posting content and engaging with the audience is not the only thing you need to focus on, you also need to use trending hashtags and tag relevant influential people that could boost your brand and products.  Now, posting trending hashtags, that’s just something you’re going to have to follow among other influencers specifically to your industry and take it from there.  As far as tagging people go, even if they are not influencers, you can tag people that have engaged with your brand, perhaps even acquired the product you sell, and tagging them will get you to share now your brand with their network; think about it as a word of mouth marketing tactic.

Develop an email marketing plan

Emails have become the number one method of communication among businesses and taking advantage of this new way of communication is a must.  Did you know sending something simple as a welcome email has a 21% open rate and when you offer personalization to this very same email, it increases the open rate by 50%.  Now, what you communicate, is really a world of opportunities to upsell, convert, or even just say hello and keep customers engaged.

Create useful data infographics

If your customers are visual learners like me then offering an infographic relevant to your business and its services is quite helpful, giving them the 411 as an overview with some interesting data and graphics, trust me, it will give your consumers and potential ones something to look at and become ongoing engagers with your brand.

Publish great content about your industry

In 2021, content is king and talking to the digital world through blogging and helpful articles and/or newsletters will boost your business brand and website traffic if set up correctly.

Other great tools you can use are posting helpful tip videos and even hosting contests and giveaways on social media.

To learn more about other free tips, feel free to reach out to or follow us on Facebook or Instagram: @AhavaMarketing.


Lunch & Learn Recap: Cold Calling with Dave Fisher

By | Business, Tips

Business E Suites held its first-ever Lunch & Learn workshop on February 4th. This is something that we will be held each month on the 1st Thursday of the month. The topic for our first event was Cold Calling & Sales hosted by our very own David Fisher of Western Aviation.

Mr. Fisher has been in Sales for over 20 years and has experience selling all types of products from cars, jets, software, telecom, and more. He shared with our members some great tips for how to use cold calling to help make your small business more profitable.

We won’t give away all of his secrets, but here are a few tips he had:

  • Be prepared: Have a list of contacts you are calling and be sure to know as much about them as possible. Do some quick research so you know who you are calling and what their interests are how your business can help. Download lists of industry professionals you are targeting, or create your own list using excel and googling the business you are targeting. The more information you have the easier it will be to get past the gatekeeper.
  • Get past the gatekeeper: Every business or executive is going to have a receptionist or gatekeeper that you must get through before speaking to your actual target. There are many different strategies for getting past them. Ask for the person by name, sound familiar. Don’t start off with a sales pitch, you will get shut down right away. Be polite but assertive, be vague but intentional. Keep it as simple as “is Jim there? I need to speak with him.” And see where that gets you.
  • Get an email address: Even if you can’t get past the gatekeeper, get the email of the person you were trying to reach. Usually, the gatekeeper or receptionist will give it to you or let you leave a voicemail. Getting the email lets you at the very least send a follow-up message and add them to your marketing list, which is valuable. If they are unwilling to give it to you, a simple way to figure it out is just to find out the naming conventions of the email (ex: and plug in the name of your contact to see if it works.
  • Put in the time: Even if you only have a success rate of 3% where your calls turn into deals, but it the time to make it worth it. If you can hammer out 100 calls in a day, that would net you 3 new deals! If you don’t put in the work, you won’t get the return you are looking for. You must ignore the rejections and just keep pushing till you get that one new deal you have been waiting for.

Cold Calling is far from the most enjoyable aspect of the business, but if you work hard it can be a valuable tool for growing your company and landing deals you otherwise would have missed.

The Importance of a Meeting Room

By | Business, Tips

It is no surprise that first impressions matter most and engaging with a potential client or even more importantly an established customer is one of the most important aspects of your business; the image you portray in that very first meeting will set the tone for everything else beyond that.

With the “normal” running a business from home is no surprise but that does not mean that a customer has to adapt to your new “normal”, therefore it’s always best to meet them in a professional environment to ensure a professional service will be rendered.  At Business E Suites we offer just that, meeting rooms that will guarantee a professional tone and set your business for a successful referral.  After all, the first impression is what most people keep.

See a virtual tour of what meeting room settings are available for you right in the heart of Sugar Land.  And learn more about our beyond-flexible rates for any business professional, even at their earliest stages can afford.

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